Enforcement in the event of discrimination

General information

Caution

In general, these rules apply to all EU citizens in Austria.

Persons affected by discrimination are entitled to compensation for material and immaterial damages and, in some sectors, to the subsequent award of benefits that were unduly withheld. From 1 January 2018, a prohibitory injunction will also be possible in the event of discrimination on the basis of a disability.

Advice

Protection against discrimination under the Disability Equality Act applies to physically, mentally and psychologically disabled persons, persons with sensory disabilities, and also those in a close relationship with the affected person (e.g. their dependants). It is not necessary for the existence of a disability to have been officially confirmed in order to be able to benefit from protection against discrimination; however, there must be a direct connection between the disability and the act of discrimination.

Competent authority

  • The district court (→ BMJGerman text that is locally competent for the primary residence of the affected person.
  • In atters concerning labour law, the court of first instance that is locally competent for matters of labour and social law.

In service law matters concerning civil servants, it is the administrative authority in question that is relevant.

Procedure

Extrajudicial arbitration is afforded particular importance in Austrian legislation on disability equality. Before proceedings are brought before the court, an attempt must be made to reach an amicable settlement as part of an arbitration procedure before the arbitration service of the Ministry of Social Affairs. This arbitration procedure is free of charge. The possibility of mediation by independent mediators may also be exercised free of charge as part of the arbitration procedure.

Advice

All deadlines are suspended during the arbitration procedure (for example the deadline for asserting claims for damages); this means that the deadlines are deferred and any existing claims will be prevented from lapsing or becoming time-barred.

  • The Austrian Disability Council (the umbrella association for disability organisations in Austria)
  • the Ombud for Disability
  • the Claimants’ Association for the Enforcement of the Rights of Victims of Discrimination

may bring a collective action to establish discrimination in cases involving special public interest. Since 1 January 2018, these offices have also been able to bring a collective action to cease and desist discriminatory acts against large corporations.

The Austrian Disability Council, the Claimants’ Association for the Enforcement of the Rights of Victims of Discrimination and the Ombud for Disability may also file an injunction in matters relating to insurance contract law if there are numerous cases where the general interests of persons with disabilities are being adversely affected in a significant manner.

Further information

Further links

Legal basis

sections 3, 4, 9, 10 and 12 to 17 Bundes-Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 4 February 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection